On August 15th, Lambda Legal requested that the state of Arizona respect the marriage of George Martinez and Fred McQuire, plaintiffs in the case Majors vs. Jeanes.
George Martinez and Fred McQuire have been together for 45 years, and were both serving in the US Armed Forces when they met. In recent years, both men have developed major health concerns–and tragically, George has only been given a few months left to live.
George was recently in remission for prostate cancer that he developed as a side effect after being exposed to Agent Orange, but soon after was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Since Arizona does not respect the couple—who legally married in California—Fred will not be treated as George’s widow. Under Arizona’s marriage ban, Fred—who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and a pulmonary disorder—will not be eligible to receive George’s death certificate upon his passing, or receive spousal benefits from the VA.
“It’s been a devastating blow. We knew we wanted to get married, and had hoped to be able to do it here, in Arizona, where we live. But now we can’t wait. Even though we are very sick and disabled, we decided we had no choice but to make the difficult and exhausting trip to California,” George said. “We felt like we had to struggle to survive the journey, but we did because we wanted to get married and it was our only option. All we’re asking is that Arizona respect that marriage, respect the life we’ve built together for almost half a century, and allow us to spend these last months together in peace and love.”
Simply put: George and Fred do not have time to waste as the state of Arizona continues to enforce our discriminatory marriage ban. That’s why Lambda Legal has filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to respect George and Fred’s legal marriage without delay.
For Fred and George, every minute Arizona does not honor their marriage vows counts. And as Attorney General Tom Horne wastes taxpayer money defending AZ’s ban in court, the state of Arizona inflicts real harm to real families day in and day out. In such a fragile time in their lives, Fred and George shouldn’t have to worry they will be denied the fundamental protections they deserve when it matters most. In our state, freedom means freedom for everyone, and it is time couples like Fred and George are afforded the dignity and respect they deserve.